Queensland has recorded 17 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases, taking the west Brisbane Delta cluster to 63 cases with another unlinked case emerging in the state’s far north.
The cases were picked up after a recorded 51,479 tests in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning and are all linked to existing cases.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the outbreak, which has led to a lockdown of the state’s southeast until at least Sunday, has more cases than any previous coronavirus outbreak in Queensland.
“This has become our biggest outbreak since the first wave last year,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
Four cases are linked to the Ironside State School, two are linked to Indooroopilly State High School, one is linked to Brisbane Boys Grammar and nine cases are close contacts or family members.
Another new Delta case in Cairns, first reported on Tuesday, is not genomically linked to Brisbane cluster.
The case is a reef pilot who is fully vaccinated with Pfizer and he’s believed to have become infected from a ship off the coast.
Almost 10,000 people are in home or hotel quarantine, and two new cases recorded on Wednesday were not in the community for any point of their infectious period.
Chief Health Health Officer Jeannette Young said the aim of the lockdown is not to eradicate the cluster but to ensure any new cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.
“It doesn’t matter (if) we’ve had those cases because they’re in quarantine, so it won’t stop us lifting the restrictions on Sunday,” she said.
“So please, everyone just think of what you can do in the next few days so we can lift this and we can beat all their predictions about how long it takes to get such a large cluster under control.”
Police issued 48 penalty infringement notices on Tuesday, including 34 for being out in the community during lockdown without a valid reason.
Mr Miles urged people to stay home unless they absolutely need to for essential shopping or health care.
“We just urge everyone to really, just for a few more days, we hope, do the right thing,” he said.
“Five more days, do the right thing, and then next week you can buy all the sun lounges you think you need.”
Queensland’s Ekka public holidays set for next Wednesday will also be rescheduled.
Meanwhile, Liberal National Party David Crisafulli is calling on the government to tweak a scheme offering small and medium businesses lockdown support grants of up to $5,000.
He said the scheme should have a sliding scale, larger businesses should be offered more money and sole traders with revenue of less than $75,000 should also be included.
“These are things that couldn’t been ironed out, but what we had was what I would describe as the pig-headed approach where the treasurer said: ‘No, we don’t need a business support package’,” Mr Crisafulli told ABC Radio.
“There wasn’t one put in the budget, and now here we are barely six weeks into the new financial year and it’s our second lockdown period already, and that’s a real concern, this could have been ready to go.”